Valparaiso, Ind. -- Sophomore Sarah Dowd tied the single-season home run record with 11 and went 4-for-8 on the day, but the Youngstown State softball team was swept in a doubleheader by Valparaiso on Saturday, 7-5, 9-5, at the VU Softball Field.
The Penguins fall to 18-31 overall and 7-13 in the Horizon League while the Crusaders improve to 15-33 and 9-11 in league play.
After the Crusaders went up 1-0 after the first inning, the Penguins took a 3-1 lead on a Maria Lacatena solo home run in the second, a Dowd solo home run in the third and a triple by freshman Cali Mikovich in the fifth that plated Alexandria Gibson, who doubled.
The Crusadeders knotted the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Penguins regained a two-run edge after scoring a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. A bases-loaded single to right field by Dowd scored Katie Smallcomb and a bases-loaded walk to Miranda Castiglione put the Penguins up 5-3.
The Penguins could not capitalize anymore on the bases-loaded, one out situation and hit into a double play and struck out.
In the bottom half of the sixth, Valparaiso scored four runs to seal the 7-5 win.
In the nightcap, Valparaiso used a five-run second inning to erase a 3-2 deficit and turn that into a 7-3 lead after two innings, then added runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings en route to the 9-5 win.
The Crusaders jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Penguins scored three in the top of the second to take a 3-2 advantage. Gibson and Mikovich each singled to lead off the inning, and, after an out and an infield single by Hannah Lucas, Gibson scored on a wild pitch.
An infield single by Katie Smallcomb tied the game at 2-2 and Dowd's single up the middle gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead when Lucas scored from second base.